In personal development, kaizen can be used to focus on gradual, consistent changes that lead to improvement. Kaizen is a Japanese concept which literally means “change for good.” It is a philosophy that focuses on process rather than outcome and emphasizes order, discipline, and frugality.
In the kaizen way, what is given premium is not the instantaneous achievement of grand goals, but the consistent, incremental improvements you implement in your daily life. The principles of kaizen are useful in improving your own self-discipline, as it provides a no-nonsense, tangible method for optimizing your actions such that self-control becomes a habit and progress is steadily realized. It offers a framework for thinking about your processes in order to identify the actions that work for you and those that don’t. When appraising a process, look closely at the actions you are taking.
Asking yourself the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your situations helps you paint a mental picture of the overall flow of your actions. This will also make it easier for you to pinpoint and address occasions where you create “muda,” which is waste or the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Kaizen teaches that the goal is to produce without waste.
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Peter Hollins is a bestselling author, human psychology researcher, and a dedicated student of the human condition.
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